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      Philadelphia Speaker Series

      David Cameron Calls on World Leaders to Embrace Compassion and Compromise

      david cameron and student

      Philadelphia Speaker Series

      Widener University student Aidan Hostetter meets David Cameron during the Philadelphia Speaker Series.

      The 14th season of the Widener University Philadelphia Speakers Series opened on Oct. 2 to a sold-out crowd at the Kimmel Center. Widener President Dr. Julie E. Wollman welcomed the audience, encouraging them to seek inspiration from the presenters and leave each event with the resolve to explore new ideas.

      David Cameron then took the stage to present the first lecture of the season. Cameron served as Prime Minister of the U.K. for more than a decade, assuming the role in 2010 during an economic crisis. He led the country's transformation into one of the world's fastest growing economies, and his agenda of compassion and compromise left an indelible mark on his nation's Conservative Party.

      Throughout his presentation, Cameron shared his experiences as a centrist leader on the world stage, while exploring current geopolitical challenges. He pointed to Brexit, one of his greatest domestic challenges, as an example of the perceived rise of populist politics across the world.

      cameron with student

      Philadelphia Speaker Series

      Widener University student Elexis Kenny meets David Cameron during the Philadelphia Speaker Series.

      Cameron called this "wave" of populist sentiment a myth and argued that these views are ever present in our societies. While he acknowledged a rising polarization within world politics, he did not agree with the populist ideal that our political systems are broken. According to Cameron, what really matters is how our leaders embrace or defuse these ideals and strive for compromise.

      "Democracy is still on the march," said Cameron. "Our world needs to change and evolve, but we can't throw the baby out with the bathwater."

      Cameron revisited this theme of compromise as he reflected upon many of the world's most vexing issues including environmental change, opposition to immigration and diversity, and North Korea's expanding nuclear capabilities. When seeking solutions to these challenges, he warned of the dangers of taking a political stance too far to the left, or the right.

      He called for a renewed commitment from our leaders to work from the middle and pull in people from all sides to work together. One such leader Cameron feels embodied this approach is Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the U.K. from 1979 to 1990. During a meeting with her early in his career, she shared some sage advice: "The only thing that matters is that people deserve freedom under the rule of law."

      These words continue to inspire Cameron, and he closed by encouraging all leaders to strive to be representative of the people they serve.

      Jeffrey Toobin will be featured during the next installment of the Philadelphia Speakers Series on Oct. 23. Toobin is a Supreme Court expert and esteemed legal analyst who has appeared on CNN and written for The New Yorker.


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